Mr. Merry to Mr. Hay.

No. 219.]

Sir: Upon arriving at Corinto on February 25 I found western Nicaragua peaceful, a convincing proof that the attempt at revolution on the Atlantic littoral would fail. The next day I had the honor to send you in cipher the cablegram1 at the top of inclosure No. 1. The advices received on the 26th and 27th indicated the speedy termination [Page 555] of the revolt. On the latter date the minister of foreign aifairs handed me the memorandum (inclosure No. 2), of which I inclose translation. I then sent you the second1 telegram on inclosure No. 1 at the request of the Government. Knowing Commander Symonds of the Marietta personally, I do not think that he has exercised any illegal authority or violated the duties of neutrality. I suggested to the secretary of foreign affairs, Mr. Sanson, that probably General Reuling, the Nicaraguan commander, had made the agreement with the two naval commanders to save the lives of his soldiers and the possibility of the destruction of property at Bluefields, which, doubtless, he felt authorized to do. I am at this time under impression that the 42 alleged Americans have been permitted to leave the country, saving the Department of State unnecessary annoyance. I have instructed the consular agent at Bluefields to make and forward me a list of these parties for future reference. In such cases it too often occurs that most of them are naturalized Americans, abusing their acquired privileges. The arrival of the Marietta was most opportune. Whatever may be the demerits of the present Government in Nicaragua, there appears to be no cohesion or united action possible on the part of its opponents, who are not likely to have such another opportunity as the revolt at Bluefields offered. Its distance from Managua and the uncertain methods of transportation, as well as communication, placed the Government at decided disadvantage, which drawbacks were only overcome by the energy of the President. It is now my impression that in Nicaragua there will be peace for some time, although possibly there may be revolt in Honduras, the Government of which, you will have noticed, aided Nicaragua by the loan of a small gunboat on the Atlantic coast, and will, should occasion arise, request a like service from Nicaragua.

I am to-day advised by the foreign secretary that the steamer Suldal has left New Orleans without clearance for Bluefields, and that the Vasquez expedition against Honduras has been stopped by the United States Government at New Orleans.

I am informed by telegram of yesterday from Consul Sorsby that there are now two United States naval vessels at Bluefields—presumably the Machias having joined the Marietta.

Consul Sorsby has also left San Juan del Norte for Bluefields, at which I am pleased, as his services may be needed there.

General Reyes has escaped the Bocas del Toro, and the Nicaraguan Government appears to be fully reestablished on the Mosquito Coast. I am informed by Secretary Lane, United Stated legation at San José, that an attack was made on the artillery barracks there on the 25th ultimo, resulting in the loss of nine lives, but the Government force repelled the assailants, and Mr. Lane advises the Government as confident of no further disturbance.

With assurances, etc.,

William Lawrence Merry.

Memorandum handed W. L. Merry by Hon. J. Sanson, minister of foreign relations, Managua, February 28, 1899, requesting cable sent same date.

General Estrada, legitimate governor of Bluefields, informs that General Reuling (of Nicaraguan army), upon demanding surrender of the city, agreed with the captains of the vessels of war (Marietta and Intrepid) and with the consuls [Page 556] that the 42 Americans (riflemen) in the service of the rebellion shall be embarked to leave the country, and that the native chiefs shall be guaranteed their lives for five days. As General Reuling had no power to promise this and this appertains to the Government, the President asks that your excellency will arrange that the said American rebels submit to judgment in conformity with the law.

The American marine has impeded the work of Governor Estrada, on his part, under threat of prison.

The Government does not renounce the right of judging the rebels, and expects that the American and English ships will not assist the departure of the compromised Americans.

The President, Managua:

There is prepared to leave promptly a filibuster expedition from New Orleans. It is certainly against Honduras for account of General Vasquez. (Memorandum: Secretary Sanson also stated that the expedition might first land in Nicaragua, near Honduras.) Corea.

William L. Merry.

The above is translated copy of cable from Corea, secretary Nicaragua legation at Washington; received at Managua, February 28, 1899.

  1. Printed, ante.